How To Move A Fish Tank? The Basics

Moving your tank is a real headache. It’s not just the fish or plants you need to move, but there are all of those decorations and accessories that come with owning a tank. There is a lot more than meets the eye!

Setting Up A Betta Tank
Setting Up A Betta Tank

If you’re moving into a new house and have an aquarium, there are some things you need to know before transporting it. First, empty the tank, gather materials, cross-check everything, place the tank on a dolly, place it in its new place, and finally add the water and furniture.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to move a fish tank across the room.

Steps To Move A Fish Tank Across The Room

Moving a fish tank is not always easy, but you can do it. It requires some creativity and care for the life of your aquarium pets. However, as long as you follow these steps carefully during the process, moving your fish tank will be simple! Follow these steps to move a fish tank across the room safely:

Step One- Empty The Tank

Put your fish in a temporary container or bag. Please fill up the old fish tank with water to swim while being transferred to their new home.

Or, fill up any buckets or other containers you plan on using for transport, as well. This will prevent spills and make life much easier when moving them across the room.

Empty your aquarium of all water and debris. In addition, you must remove any plants, rocks, or stones from inside the fish tank before moving it.

This will prevent any unnecessary damage to either the surface on which you are transporting the aquarium or to your glassware.

Step Two- Gather Materials

It is important to have all of the following materials on hand before transporting your fish tank. It would be very inconvenient if you needed any one of these supplies during transport and did not have it readily available: a towel, paper towels, buckets with lids or plastic wrap, packing peanuts or bubble wrap to absorb any excess water, a wheeled dolly (if not using your own hands and back), an aquarium heater set to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, if applicable.

Step Three- Cross-Check Everything

Turn off the filter and lights for at least 24 hours before moving your fish tank across the room so that any bacteria or algae on your aquarium will not die due to a lack of oxygen.

Chemically treat your water for one to three hours before moving across the room. This will protect it from bacteria or algae buildup and help prevent fish death if there is a sudden stop during transport.

Check for any seals that may have been broken, so you know what needs to be replaced after transporting your aquarium across the room.

Step Four- Place The Tank On A Dolly

Place the tank on the wheeled dolly or in whatever way is most comfortable for you to transport it. If you are using your own hands and back to transport the tank, it is good to have someone help you carry it. You should also use two towels when transporting the fish tank in this way: one around the bottom of the aquarium and another on top for stability.

Step Five- Place The Tank In Its New Home

You have finally moved your fish tank! Now the important part: getting it situated in its new home. Place the aquarium where you would like it, ensuring that there is at least one inch of clearance all around for airflow and temperature regulation. You can use bubble wrap or packing peanuts to keep excess water from leaking onto floors or furniture. You can place the tank on a towel for added stability if necessary.

Step Six- Add The Water

Add one gallon of water to your fish tank, checking for leaks after adding each quart. Keep in mind that you will need to add five gallons of water at this point before filling with tap or bottled water and balancing it with the proper chemicals.

Step Seven- Add Furniture

If possible, move any furniture inside your home that you would like close to your fish tank before beginning this step. This will make it easier for you to fill out any decorating or setup preferences with ease! Next, fill up and arrange the entire aquarium as desired, using a fish tank heater if applicable. Congratulations! You have made it through moving your aquarium and are now ready to get down to business with enjoying your new home or space.

Can You Move A Fish Tank With Water In It?

Yes, but never put a fish tank into the back of your car with water in it. The pressure will build up and force water to shoot out when you open your trunk or, worse yet, slam shut from hitting another object while driving. You also risk dumping all the water on yourself if there is a sudden stop. Even though moving an established aquarium is not easy, the risk of water spilling makes it too risky.

Can You Move An Established Aquarium?

Yes, but it is not easy. It requires a lot of preparation and time to move an established aquarium that would have been impossible for us if we had just found out about our impending new house one day before the moving truck was coming.

How Do You Move An Established Aquarium? Tips To Move Tank Across The Room

If you’re moving an established aquarium, it isn’t easy and can be a lot of work. But if you follow these steps when transporting your fish tank across the room, there is less chance of water spilling or any breakage during transport!

It’s easier than you think with these tips:

Fish Safety And Health Is A Priority

Moving is stressful for all living creatures, including your fish, plants, and you. So before you move your aquarium, remember to make sure that the water is at a safe temperature for transporting.

It would be best if you considered the safety of your fish while moving the established aquarium they live in when you are transporting it, always empty and put them in a bag or box with plenty of oxygen before you move their home from one location to another.

Empty The Tank And Clean It Thoroughly

Empty your fish tank, take the water out. Clean all surfaces of your fish tank with a bleach solution (we used diluted Clorox). It’s fine to have small amounts in there as long as you rinse it off well before sealing again. Rinse the inside and outside of your aquarium thoroughly. Fill up some buckets with new water and put them back in the new location.

Watch For Glass And Seals:

When we were preparing to move our fish tank, we took a lot of care in packing it securely with bubble wrap and Styrofoam balls (to fill any space), which also means that there is less likelihood of breakage during transport. We had already moved an aquarium before, so we knew to watch out for the glass and seals.

Avoided Warranty:

We always move our fish tank empty because it is too risky with water in there. We avoided warranty by just emptying everything of the tanks before moving them (we don’t have an extra room where they can stay full until we’re ready to move again).

Fish Tank Fill Back:

When we moved into our new house, I first did to fill up all of our tanks with water. It’s a stressful process, and it requires great attention to detail, but doing so allowed us to have live fish right away.

How To Transport Your Fish Tank When Moving Into A New House?

It’s important to be prepared and know what you’re doing when transporting your fish tank. If there is a lot of water in the aquarium, then this can be difficult for two people or one person with two tanks on each side. Here are some tips:

  • Keep the fish in the fish bag (if you have one) and carry it over your shoulder.
  • Always empty any extra water before moving an aquarium.
  • Get a tarp or blanket to cover the floor in case there is a spill during transportation.
  • Refrigerate any fish food you cannot transport – it will stay fresh for up to three days without refrigeration. (It’s also helpful if you want your new housemates to like you)
  • The most important thing to remember is never to carry an aquarium by the glass.
  • Always ensure there are no sharp edges or corners on your tank
  • Choose a route that has a few steps and turns as possible, avoiding any stairs/elevators if you can help it
  • Always keep in mind what’s best for the fish when transporting their home!


In conclusion, it’s important to know what you’re doing when it comes to transporting your fish tank. Some things need to be done beforehand, and make sure you do it as I have mentioned above.